Global citizens rush to book Airbnb rentals in Ukraine as unique form of donation

By Lucas Casaletto

Here are some ways Canadians can help Ukraine through charitable donations

A direct donation can be made here to the Canada-Ukraine foundation

When it comes to finding thoughtful and considerate ways to help the people of Ukraine, renting a home through Airbnb might not be the first on the list.

Many organizations have launched charities — including donation centres — in Ukraine, but some fear their donations won’t directly impact individual people or families in need.

But as the days go on and the Russian invasion of Ukraine becomes increasingly trepidatious and dangerous for millions of citizens, surrounding countries are stepping up through the use of the vacation rental service.

Many people from across the globe have shared on social media that they recently booked a room, apartment or home somewhere in Ukraine with no intention of staying but instead, to provide hosts with some financial aid.

Airbnb says Canadians have booked almost 3,000 nights in support of Ukraine with more than 61,000 total nights booked over the past 48 hours on the platform, resulting in almost $2 million going to hosts in need.

One man named Mario shared a screenshot of a conversation he had with an Airbnb host after he booked a stay from March 3 to March 10.

“Hello, Maria. My wife and I have booked your apartment for one week, but of course, we will not be visiting,” he wrote. “This is so that you can receive some money. We wish we could do more to help you and the people of Kyiv.”

Airbnb confirms it is waiving the fees to ensure that the booking costs go directly to a family in need or the host in this case.

“We appreciate the generosity of our community during this moment of crisis,” she said in an email. “Airbnb is also waiving all guest and host fees on all bookings in Ukraine at this time.”

Others have shared their experience by donating or booking a room through Airbnb.

airbnb ukraine

Canadians and various members of the public are sharing their rental bookings through Airbnb to donate funds to those in Ukraine. Photo courtesy: Sandy Caetano.

Airbnb host Iryna messaged renter Sandy after she booked a rental in Ukraine.

“Thank you so much for your support and contribution to the freedom of Ukraine,” Iryna wrote. “We will use this money to help all those who need help in this difficult time.”

“I have just paid for an Airbnb room in Ukraine,” another social media user, Nicola, wrote. “I added a message of support. This is not my idea. I have seen others doing it. I don’t know what else I can do.”

“Just booked my one-week stay at an Airbnb in Kyiv, Ukraine,” another woman on social media wrote. “No, I’m not actually going. Just a way to give a bit of money to someone quickly.”

On Monday, Airbnb announced it would begin to offer free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.

CEO Brian Chesky confirmed that Airbnb officials sent letters to European leaders, including Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania, to name a few, offering support “in welcoming refugees within their borders.”

“We know that Hosts and guests on Airbnb around the world are eager to stand up and assist this massive effort to help those fleeing Ukraine,” Airbnb said. “Anyone who is interested in supporting this initiative, including offering free or discounted stays can go to to get involved.”

More than one million people have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, in the swiftest refugee exodus this century, the United Nations said Thursday.

Last week,, a non-profit organization, said it has provided housing to 21,300 Afghan refugees and set a new goal of providing free, temporary housing to another 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, and other regions.

Airbnb also announced on Friday that it ceased operations in Russia and Belarus until further notice.

“This means that we will block calendars from accepting new bookings in both countries until further notice,” a spokesperson told CityNews on behalf of Airbnb. “We will also restrict users in Belarus and Russia from making new reservations as guests.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today